The first ever demolition of any building in India took place on Sunday, 28 August 2022. India’s tallest buildings, the Twin Towers, were grounded in Noida on the orders of the supreme court. The twin towers named as Apex (32 stories) and Ceyane (29 stories) were situated in Noida Sector 93A, covering an area of 7.5 Lakh square feet. The twin towers had more than 900 flats accommodated by 1500 residents.
Noida-based Developmental company Supterch Limited launched the construction of the project known as Emerald Court in the mid 2000s that included the building of 3, 4 and 5 BHK residential flats.
The project plan was submitted by New Okhla Industrial Development Authority in Noida, which was supposed to have 14 nine-storied towers to be located off the expressway that connects the twin cities of Noida and Greater Noida.
According to the report submitted in 2006, Supertech company promised to have a ‘green’ area in front of Tower one. The ‘green’ area later became the ground on which Ceyane and Apex– the Twin Towers at the heart of the fiasco would rise. Also the Supertech company changed the plan and built a complex of 15 buildings by 2012.
Earlier it was supposed to have 14 buildings with 9 stories but then 15 buildings with 11 stories each were constructed. The construction of two more buildings (the Twin Towers) was also part of the new plan which included 40 floors each above the ground. And this was the time when a legal battle started between the Supertech company and the residents.
What Was The Problem?
The UP Ownership of flats Act, 1975, and UP Apartment Acts 2010, make it mandatory for real estate companies to take the consent of existing residents or previous buyers for new constructions. Also as per the real estate rules and regulations, the distance between two adjacent buildings should be kept at 16m, and any structure with a height of 18m, must have a distance of 16m from its neighboring structures.
However, the height of the towers was more than 18m and the distance between the two towers was only 9m which violated the safety norms. Regardless of the violation of safety norms the twin towers received the NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the Noida Authority.
The Resident Welfare Association (RWA) filed a petition in Allahabad high court claiming that the twin towers were built in violation of the fire safety norms and open space norms. Then in 2004, Allahabad High Court agreed to the appeal of the Emerald Court’s residents and ordered for the demolition of the twin towers. However the Supertech company opposed the verdict and took the matter to the Supreme court.
In 2018, the Supreme Court gave two options: to either exit the project with a full repayment of principal amount and an interest rate of 14 per cent or get a return on investment of 10 per cent per annum if they chose to stay in the project.
The court directed the company to do the needful but they did not fulfil the orders. In August 2021, the Supreme court ordered the demolition of the Noida Twin Towers citing the fact that the towers were constructed illegally.
The court also ordered the realtor to repay the homebuyers at an interest rate of 12 per cent. However, the company filed the issue of bankruptcy that made it unable to pay back the buyers. The Supertech company appealed to the Supreme court to review its order, and a lot of hearings took place regarding the matter but at last the Supreme court refused to budge its stand from the issue.
Finally the date for the demolition of twin towers was decided to be 28th August 2022. Mumbai-based Edifice Engineering in partnership with South African firm Jet Demolitions took the responsibility for the demolition. 3,700 kilograms of explosives were installed in the twin towers to demolish through a process of implosion. The demolition took place in the presence of Noida Authority and Noida police.
The 5000 residents of the adjoining societies- the Emerald Court and ATS Village were asked to evacuate the area by 7 am on August 28, as the societies are barely nine metres away from the house. The Noida Health Department was also roped in case of any possible health emergency.
In order to reduce pollution, the Pollution Control Board installed 10 anti-smog guns. The traffic was diverted and vehicular movement was prohibited from Noida to Greater Noida/Yamuna Expressway during the demolition hours.
The demolition process took place at a single press of a button at 2.30pm on 28th August, where the twin towers were grounded in just 9 seconds, leaving behind a whopping 5500 tonnes of debris. The medical experts said that there is a likelihood of huge dust from demolition causing health-related issues from seven to 90 days among the nearby residents.
The twin towers were estimated to be taller than the historical Qutub Minar. The demolition of any such building is one of the first cases of India where any such action has been taken against illegal construction.